Elephants in the room: Police allege Rs 300-crore scam involving statues in UP

scam
(Last Updated On: January 6, 2016)

The police on Monday raided the office of UP Rajkiya Nirman Nigam Limited (UPRNNL) and recovered documents suggesting that there was a nexus between the officers of the department and the contractors, who siphoned off several hundred crores of funds approved for the construction of parksand monuments during the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) government.

“This could be a scam worth at least Rs 300 crore in supply, cutting and polishing of stone and statues that were used in the parks and monuments in Lucknow and Noida,” a police department source told Mail Today.

Going by the nature of the financial misappropriation committed between 2007 and 2010, there is every possibility that the state government will hand over the case to some other agency.

Police sources said that at least three senior officers of the UPRNNL and more than half-a-dozen contractors could be involved in the scam.

Earlier, the police recovered Rs 63 lakh in cash from the basement of “Lucknow Marbles”, the office of Aditya Agrawal, a contractor who had supplied elephant statues for parks and memorials on the direction of former chief minister Mayawati.

The police had raided Agarwal’s business premises in Gomtinagar following a complaint from Madanlal, a sculptor based in Fatehpur Sikri in Agra district.

Madanlal, who made some of the elephant statues for the parks in Noida, had registered a complaint with the Lucknow police on Saturday that while Agrawal had agreed to pay him Rs 48 lakh for each statue, he paid only Rs 6.56 lakh for 16 statues.

Lucknow’s senior superintendent of police Ashutosh Pandey said, “As per the papers seized so far, we have reached the conclusion that while the cost of each elephant statue was Rs 5.62 lakh, Agarwal used to receive an additional Rs 47 lakh for polishing and transportation of a statue. There was clearly a scam in which the officers of UPRNNL were involved. We are expecting to unearth a bigger fraud after interrogating some of the officers and contractors. The case may also be handed over to some other authority for a more thorough investigation.”

Pandey said that Agrawal had taken utmost care to avoid documentary evidence of any of his deals.

The police, apparently keen to unearth the scam, had arrested Agrawal within minutes of receiving a green signal from Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav‘s office on Saturday.

While Vidya Agrawal, who owns Lucknow Marbles believed in keeping a low profile, her husband Aditya used to throw late night parties in five-star hotels for some state government officers. Last year, he had also purchased 60 bigha of land along the Lucknow-Barabanki road, where land prices are exorbitant.

A small-time civil contractor till 2007, Aditya also launched three real estate companies.

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